Today marks the 50 year anniversary of the Great Ruler Shattering event of 1970 which saw millions of rulers across the world shatter prompting the introduction of shatter-proof rulers.
The event, which will be marked next Thursday by members of the public clapping at 8pm, saw an inestimable loss of life as non-shatter-resistant rulers shattered simultaneously, showering school children, teachers and architects in sharp bits of plastic.
Donald Cohort, inventor of the shatter-proof ruler and still alive to this day, said, “we must never forget the tremendous harm caused by non-shatter-resistant rulers. When people (and when I say people I mean 12 year old boys) twanged them on the edge of their desks it meant certain death. Now, thanks to me, we can twang safely.”
Rulers, which have been used for many decades to measure distances up to 30cm but sometimes less, were invented by the Romans as a way to measure flaccid/erect penises. In those days centimetres didn’t exist and ‘lengths of a millipede’s penis’ were used instead (and were marked in Roman numerals).
The modern millimetre is derived from that original measuring system. Since then, rulers have been adopted by people who want to know how long something is and to draw straight lines.
“A decision was made very early on,” Cohort said, “to make it so that if you wanted to draw a straight line with a biro you’d get ink smudges everywhere, including all over your hands, face and the dog. We just thought that would be amusing. Use a pencil people. It’s not rocket surgery.”